ICC orders pre-trial chamber to reconsider al-Bashir genocide charges

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Feb. 3 reversed a Pre-Trial Chamber decision that denied the application for an arrest warrant on genocide charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The reversal was procedural, and did not address the question of whether al-Bashir is responsible for genocide.

In its March 2009 decision, the Pre-Trial Chamber required the prosecution to demonstrate al-Bashir’s genocidal intent using the “proof by inference” standard. The Appeals Chamber held that the standard used was inappropriate for the arrest warrant phase, but declined to actually order the Pre-Trial Chamber to issue a genocide warrant for al-Bashir, as requested by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. The case has now been remanded back to the Pre-Trial Chamber to reconsider whether there was “reasonable grounds to believe” that al-Bashir acted with genocidal intent.

ICC prosecutors appealed the decision not to charge al-Bashir with genocide in July. The warrant, which charges al-Bashir with seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, has been controversial, with Egypt, Sudan, the African Union and others calling for the proceedings against al-Bashir to be delayed, and African Union leaders agreeing not to cooperate with the ruling. Al-Bashir is accused of systematically targeting and purging the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups from their lands in Darfur under the pretext of counterinsurgency since 2003. (Jurist, Feb. 3)

See our last post on Sudan.

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  1. Defiant Bashir sworn in again
    From The Guardian, May 27:

    Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, the only world leader facing an international arrest warrant, was today sworn in for another term in a low-key ceremony boycotted by many African and Arab leaders.

    Bashir won more than two-thirds of the vote in the April presidential poll, which was marred by opposition boycotts and reports of rigging and intimidation. The victory in effect ensured he would avoid being taken in the foreseeable future to the International Criminal Court, which indicted him in 2009 for alleged war crimes committed in Darfur.

    Since then, Bashir’s foreign travel has been severely curtailed because of fear of arrest by nations that recognise the ICC. But s ceremony in Khartoum highlighted the extent of his diplomatic isolation.

    In attendance were the presidents of Chad, Eritrea, Djibouti, Central African Republic, Malawi and Mauritania – all lightweights on the African stage. No top Arab leaders were present. While the UN was represented by the heads of its two peacekeeping missions in Sudan, the British and American ambassadors were absent, reportedly abroad.

    Human rights groups had urged countries to boycott the inauguration to demonstrate their commitment to international justice. This week the ICC reported Sudan to the UN security council for failing to hand over two people indicted for war crimes in Darfur, the state minister for humanitarian affairs, Ahmed Harun, and a government-allied militia leader known as Ali Kushayb.